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Lates

12 Posts tagged with the darwin_centre tag
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So summer’s definitely over, but autumn brings with it our spectacular Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

 

This Friday 26 October's Lates with MasterCard is the first late opening of the exhibition and what an exhibition it is! If you haven’t had a peek at the line-up of winning images, you can do so on our online gallery but there’s nothing quite like seeing the full show so make sure you get your tickets early for this Friday if you’re planning on coming along.

 

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Paul Nicklen's Bubble-jetting emperors is the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner. Get up close to this and 99 other prize-winning photographs in the exhibition open late on Friday evening.

 

This month we’re bringing back our increasingly popular Open-mic in the Central Hall and we’ve got 11 awesome performers. They’ll be playing from 7pm until 10.30pm and we’ve got a fantastic mix of artists. With everything from country to rock and pop it’s bound to be a great night. Get a taste of one of the performers, Marie Naffah, in this video, and see some of the other performers' videos at the end of this blog.

 

 

This month we also have some really exciting activities going on at Lates. Join our discussion event exploring the pitfalls and possibilities of a manned mission to Mars in our unique event, Should We Go To Mars? This event is ticketed and you need to book online in advance.

 

Our amazing half-term Campsite event will be opening an evening early for a special preview. With film screenings in campervans, human-sized cabinets where you can label yourself a specimen and a real polar tent in the mix, you can have yourself an indoor-outdoor adventure in the Darwin Centre. The Campsite will be open from 7pm – 9.30pm.

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Get a taste of the Campsite mobile festival of campervans, caravans and pop-up tents, arriving here on Friday evening. Right, join the crazy artists for some entertaining speed-sketching.

We’re also saying bonsoir to our Crazy Artists who are back and crazier than ever with a night of speed-sketching that will knock your socks off.  Can you sketch a squirrel in 10 minutes? Or draw a dinosaur? Or paint a porpoise? The Artists are here to put your skills to the test. Every 15 minutes between 19.00 and 21.00 the artists will bring out a specimen from the Museum’s collections. You’ll have 10 minutes to draw it before they cast their expert eyes over your work and choose a winner to take home a Natural History Museum prize.

 

If all that wasn’t enough, we’re opening the Dinosaur gallery, and you can get into the Halloween spirit in the Creepy Crawlies gallery, which is open for the the first time ever at Lates,

 

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Satisfy your curiosity about locusts (above), ants, butterflies, crabs, spiders, termites and 1000s of their relatives in the Green Zone's Creepy Crawlies gallery.

 

And with all that going on you’re bound to be peckish, so why not warm up with our tasty new pop-up restaurant menu? Featuring venison and wild boar stew, dumplings and mashed potato, you won’t be hungry for long.

 

So it looks like this is going to be one of our busiest Lates ever and I hope you all enjoy it. As always, if you do come along, please let us know what you think on the night or you can email the team at after-hours@nhm.ac.uk.

 

Andy Glynn

Visitor Events Manager


Open-mic performers at this month's Lates

 

Calvin Roche performs a variety of sounds from upbeat to chilled acoustic featuring amazing bass and vocals.

 

Clinton Tavares is a singer/songwriter from Watford that is currently playing open mics all across London.

 

 

 

Daniel Corsini plays acoustic folk with influences from Ray Davies to Kenny Rogers, to cups of tea, to sleeping in the sun.

 

 

 

Glen Kirkham is a star in waiting. His unique high-note harmonies and distinctive acoustic guitar playing produce a stunning synergy of blues and rock/pop.

 

 

 

Icicle Tree are an established folk fusion band from Surrey that plays memorable songs with distinctive melodies, creative arrangements and a truly identifiable style.

 

 

 

Jakob Deist, originally from South Africa but now based in Essex, is an amazing acoustic performer who blends a mix of pop, blues, rock and indie sounds. His new album, The Owl and the Crow, is out soon.

 

 

 

Kaitlyn Haggis, our youngest open-mic performer to date, is a teenage singer/songwriter from North London. She’s been developing her own material over the last 12 months and is currently recording her first EP.

 

 

 

Lucie Zara is a singer/songwriter from Devon. Her music has been described as a fusion of folk guitar, quirky lyrics and soulful vocals.

 

Marie Naffah is bound for big things, according to Love Music Love Life Magazine, who say: “With features on Balcony TV, Absolute Radio, XFM and her track about a girl who has lost her sight featured as top video of the week on NME breakthrough, this is just the beginning for the 20-year-old. You can expect to hear a lot more as she is set to record her new EP over the next few months.”

 

Paul Howley
Original soulful folk, big poppy choruses and some of the smartest lyrics in town.

 

The Frisbys
Often compared to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, the Frisbys write memorable folk/pop songs. Expect delicate folk textures and soaring harmonies from this four-piece.

 

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‘Hot time, summer in the city…’ It certainly is getting hotter than a match-head, which is fantastic news for our last summer late opening this season.

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Cool and hot stuff at After Hours tonight, 30 September. Pimms and Sexual Nature exhibition's Isabella Rossellin'e Green Porno films - it's the last chance to enjoy Sexual Nature before it closes this weekend.

Our Sexual Nature exhibition closes on 2 October, so try and catch it at September's After Hours.

 

I thought I’d pay the exhibition a farewell visit myself today. On the way I bumped into Dave Nevin, our Visitor Experience Manager, and two of our Visit Planners.

 

The Visit Planners, resplendent in black and red Sexual Nature t-shirts, told me that some of our overseas visitors. unfamiliar with the euphemism ‘Ask me about the birds and the bees’ emblazoned on the back of the t-shirts, ask them to tell them about birds and bees in the zoological rather than metaphorical sense. They also said that visitors often ask them exactly what it is the female orang-utan does with the piece of bark. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to get the Visit Planners to tell me what their response was. They did tell me that visitors really enjoy the exhibition and will come out wowed at the new things they’ve just seen. Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno videos (above) are particularly popular.

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Dave told me that some of our visitors have been picking up some useful chat-up lines from the interactive writing wall at the end of the exhibition, and he took me down to have a look at it.  The wall has a fascinating array of visitor messages: touching, humorous and graphic, and ranging from the American mother who wrote how happy she was she’d given birth, to the prosaic but very funny ‘Your ass is like a basketball ...’ comment.  I probably won’t be using that line myself.

 

Perhaps that came from someone who should aim to sign off summer in style with our Ultimate Attraction Masterclass, where you can learn to recognise signals and scents in the romancing game. We have a social anthropologist/flirting expert and a perfume expert on hand to guide you through flirting signals and how to use perfume to lure in a mate.

 

I also popped over to the Darwin Centre Atrium and Courtyard Terrace (right), which will of course be open for Friday’s After Hours. The Courtyard was bathed in brilliant sunshine, birds were singing in the trees, the sky was azure, and the Wildlife Garden formed a pretty glade behind.  It has a very relaxed vibe to it and if I didn’t have to do some work I’d be out there still, building up my tan. Come tonight though, it will be a great place to enjoy some late summer food, a Pimms or a cold beer from our Darwin Centre bar.

 

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Right beside the Darwin Centre bar you will find a beautiful installation that came here as part of the London Design Festival – the Unnatural Selection by Raw Edges and Oscar Narud (left, image by Susan Smart) .This intriguing and engaging animation on used computer monitors mixes up species and specimens in an 'unnatural' way. It is inspired by the Natural History Museum's collections and is presented in Museum-style cabinets (sponsored by Bloomberg). When it gets dark, the illumination becomes especially vivid.

 

Tonight is also the start of something very special for After Hours, for we are very pleased to announce the beginning of a three year partnership with MasterCard who will be sponsoring the Museum’s evening events: After Hours with MasterCard and MasterCard Night Safari.

 

MasterCard will be working with the museum to create a range of exciting offers and events for all MasterCard cardholders as part of their Priceless London programme - check the website for more information.

 

Also look out for the @NHM_London Twitter feed and the Museum’s Facebook page and keep an eye out for our After Hours with MasterCard web page for updates on October's late night highlights.

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Today, instead of ‘Summertime’ playing in my head as it was at May's After Hours, Victoria Wood’s ‘Let’s Do It' is ringing out loud and clear. Why? Because we hope you will enthusiastically embrace the late-night opening of our Sexual Nature summer exhibition.

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I asked Mike Sarna, our cheerful American head of exhibition planning, to tell me how After Hours visitors might consider Sexual Nature. Mike told me that the exhibition is about animals and us – as we are human animals - and seeing the Sexual Nature exhibition (pictured above) is a good way to learn about ourselves and our loved ones.

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‘People can take a very active approach to the exhibition or a passive approach, they can leave comments, discuss it with their friends, anonymously vote if they believe in true love or not. The range in the sexual spectrum mirrors itself in the animal kingdom.’

 

To get you even more in the mood for Sexual Nature, tonight we also have our smoky-eyed roving troubadour Sebastian Darcy-Heathcliff (right), aka Jack Merivale, who will be smoulderig near the exhibition gallery with his guitar. Sebastian will be reciting some of your favourite lurve songs with more than a glint of humour in his roving troubadour eye. And if you are lucky, he may even compose a new one just for you

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Left: Fingerprinting kit for tonight's Crime Scene NHM special event at After Hours

Switching seamlessly from sex to death, we have a really fascinating event, Crime Scene: NHM, at this Friday's After Hours. At this you’ll get the chance to learn some of our world class forensic experts’ tricks of the trade as you take part in a ‘forensic investigation’ here at the Museum. The event culminates in a ‘trial’ where real barristers, police officers and a judge will demonstrate just how important forensic evidence is to a verdict. But there are only a few tickets left so hurry to get in on the crime scene.

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Switching less seamlessly to dinosaurs, don’t forget that our equally immersive dinosaur experience, the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition, is also available for you to experience after hours.

 

With apologies, our Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace will only have limited access this Friday due to construction work, but you can still enjoy your Pimms out there. Mini picnics should be picked up from the Darwin Centre atrium as usual.

 

Right: Pick up your Mini picnic in the Darwin Centre atrium, where you can also sip Pimms from the bar.

 

Find out more about After Hours

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If you were fast enough off the mark to have got a Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition ticket at this Friday’s After Hours on 28 January (tickets have now all gone), you will have the opportunity to see some spectacular wildlife photography.

 

But there are more ways than one to capture images of the natural world – and people have tried to represent the natural world for thousands of years, going all the way back to early cave paintings. The Museum holds the finest natural history art collection in the world,  more than 500,000 pieces. Now for the first time, we are putting some  of our collection on permanent public display, in our brand new Images of Nature gallery which opened to the public on 21 January, and you can experience some of these unique images in this gallery at After Hours. Entry is free.

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Located near the entrance to the Darwin Centre, past our Dinosaurs galleries, Images of Nature is sited in what used to be the Spencer Gallery, now beautifully refurbished and back as a public space for the first time in some 20 years. You can cut through it to access the Darwin Centre by the Attenborough Studio and Interactive wall, although I am sure you will want to linger in the space.

 

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I asked Peronel Craddock, the Senior Interpretation Developer responsible for the Images of Nature interpretation to tell us more about what you will find in the gallery.

 

‘Images of Nature is a beautiful, visual exploration of how artists and scientists see the natural world. We're displaying highlights from our world-famous natural history art collection, from 17th century oil paintings, to exquisite watercolours, to contemporary illustration - many of which have never been on display before. Alongside these are images from modern science, showing the enormous range of tools and techniques scientists now have to observe and capture nature.’

 

Peronel says that one of her favourite stories in the gallery features the dodo - two paintings side-by-side, one 17th century, one 21st century that challenges our preconceptions of the dodo as a clumsy, slow-moving bird..The 21st century dodo painting by Museum scientist and artist Dr Julian Hume is shown here.

 

‘Many staff from the Museum have been involved in this project - from renovating the gallery space to planning and building the exhibition, so it's fantastic to see the doors now open and visitors enjoying the gallery. I hope that it will open people's eyes to the diversity of the collections held here, and the fascinating scientific stories behind the art.’

 

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We have the first in our rolling temporary displays within the gallery – some of the beautiful illustrations from the collection of John Reeves, the East India Company’s China based tea inspector and amateur naturalist who commissioned Chinese artists to paint the natural history around them.There are many botanical illustrations included such as this Camellia japonica, 1812-1831, pictured left.

 

Unlike the always charmingly calm and collected Peronel, the Images of Nature launch and the upcoming launch of our new bonkbuster exhibition Sexual Nature (catch it at After Hours from February) have left me with the same ‘in the headlights’ expression sported by the ruffled lemur in the Reeves collection (main image, above). I am looking forward to restoring myself this Friday with one of our new green apple, passion fruit or banana bellinis, available at all of our bars at After Hours. Do join us if you can.

 

Find out what's on at After Hours

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Besides Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Images of Nature, we are running two showings of our very new and very special interactive film, Who do you think you really are? in the Attenborough Studio. And the gloves are off at Science Fight Club, the last in our fascinating Discussing Nature events as our scientists do battle on some important topics. Who will you back to win?

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The sun is shining, at least in my head, which is good news for the second of our summer After Hours.

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Tonight, as well as the late night opening of the Deep Sea exhibition and the Darwin Centre, we have a special free event out on the Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace – Round the World Ping, which is part of Ping! London.

 

We’ve had a ping pong table out on our East Lawn for the past week now, but tonight it’ll be out on the Courtyard Terrace for what promises to be a highly entertaining experience. Come along and have a bash, or just have a drink and watch the sun go down.

 

Last Saturday, our ping pong table was in action for the very amusing Passport to Pingland challenge, at which a national table tennis coach and a colleague came along to oversee several hours of ping action from our visitors. We had all styles of play then, most uniquely from the keen little 2-year old boy, see below, who had to stand on the table to see over the top of it!

 

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Table tennis is a great fun game. Although following my tragic failure this week to reignite my previous Olympic-level talent, I shall be giving the table a miss. But I look forward to seeing everyone else having a good time this evening. Find out more about Ping! at the Museum on our website.

 

Our After Hours Up Close & Personal Tours of the Deep Sea exhibition and the Wildlife Garden are proving popular. Caroline Ware, our Wildlife Garden manager tells me that she is looking forward already to the August tours, when there might be some bats in in the garden as the later tour, 20.00, will be around sunset. And do drop in on Adrian Rundle’s fascinating Fossil workshop in the Central Hall – we had some very enthusiastic comments from participants at the June After Hours.

 

Watch this space next week for some news about an exciting new After Hours event on the last Friday in September, After Hours: Science Uncovered.

 

This takes place on the night of 24 September, when all across Europe, millions of people will be attending an amazing science festival night. It's an annual EU event, and we are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to take part this year. Make a date in your diary now.

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Enjoy some of the latest photos from our first-ever Summer After Hours last month.

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Relaxing out on the new Darwin Centre Courtyard amphitheatre-style terrace as the sun set on our first Summer After Hours in June

Highlights of the evening for visitors were the Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace - the tables looked great with small hurricane lamps on them - and the Victorian-style Hendricks bar out on the terrace offering some fab summer cocktails.

 

Adrian Rundle's microsossil workshop in Central Hall was also popular, and those who went on the Up Close and Personal guided tour of The Deep Sea exhibition and the Wildlife Garden really enjoyed themselves.

 

James Maclaine, our affable fish curator, who led The Deep Sea tour, got some nice comments from those on the tour, like “I really enjoyed the tour and found the part about what happens to a whale when it dies very interesting!” Catching a magical glimpse of one of our normally shy resident fox cubs, who popped up  from the undergrowth to take a look at the unexpected evening visitors, was a special treat for those on the Wildlife Garden tour.

 

We have another treat lined up for you at the After Hours event on 30 July - Round the World Ping. This is part of Ping London, a month-long festival of table tennis-related events. So if you fancy a little sporting activity on your Friday night, why not make a date in your diary? Bats and balls are provided! Watch this space for more news.

Click on the photos in the gallery to enlarge them

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Outside tables and chairs to enjoy a drink and the picnic-style meu from the Darwin Centre bar, by lamp light

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At the start of the After Hours Up Close and Personal tour, visitors gather round ready to plunge into The Deep Sea exhibition. After Hours guided tours of the exhibition are led by the Museum's Fish Curator, James Maclaine

 

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After Hours visitors on their guided tour of The Deep Sea exhibition stop at the whale fall display - the centrepiece of the exhibition

 

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The quirky Hendrick's Kiosk of Curious Concoctions bar out on the Courtyard terrace proved a huge hit with its cool summer cocktails. Bellinis, gin fizz, Hendrick's Buck and beer...

 

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Jazz guitar in the Darwin Centre's atrium was performed by Michael Winawer and John Barwood from the Royal College of Music

 

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Up Close and Personal Tour: Caroline Ware, the Wildlife Garden Manager, showing visitors around our lovely wildlife garden at dusk, where they caught a magical glimpse of one of our normally shy resident fox cubs who popped up to take a look at the visitors and baby moorhens on the pond

 

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Adrian Rundle's fun microfossil workshop in the Museum's Central Hall attracted a lot of interest. Fact: Bill Wyman took part in this workshop when we put it on at the recent VIP launch of The Deep Sea exhibition

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Superbly timed to coincide with the World Cup and Wimbledon, but don’t let that put you off coming, our first ever summer After Hours is happening on Friday 25 June.

 

Fortunately the sun is shining in the sky, in the immortal words of the Electric Light Orchestra, so brilliantly rendered by Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer on his banjolele at Exhibition Road Music Day on Sunday. At least the sun was shining when I started writing this blog.

 

So come along for a unique urban picnic experience at the Museum and also get acquainted with our summer blockbuster exhibition The Deep Sea, pictured below. We will be open until 21.30 on Friday.

 

We'll have an interesting Victorian-style bar out on the Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace, shown left, where you can have a bellini, beer or gin fizz and reminisce about how Kitchener knew your father. We have live jazz, picnic rugs for hire, and a suitably summery food menu for you to try out.

 

The Darwin Centre will be open if you want to visit the Cocoon and you can also take part in the Up Close & Personal expert guided tours of The Deep Sea exhibition and the Wildlife Garden.hanging-whale.jpg

 

During the evening, we will have a free microfossil workshop in the Central Hall.

 

Bill Wyman took part in this workshop when we put it on at the recent VIP launch of The Deep Sea – much to my astonishment! The workshop is great fun, so do take a look at it.


There are more After Hours to come on 30 July and 27 August.


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It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it, I think, reeling back to my office after an exhaustive food tasting for the new After Hours summer menu.

 

It is surprising how tiring trying out 20 dishes can be. I wouldn’t normally expect to be eating chocolate mousse or tabouleh, or indeed both, at 10.30 am, but it is surprising how quickly you can adjust.

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A food tasting is like a sensory jigsaw, moving dish components around, adjusting flavours and colours and seasonings, until everything fits as well as it possibly can. For us, it also involves a huge amount of discussion, a mass of cutlery and quite a lot of mess.

 

The menu is a very summery one, and you will be able to enjoy it out on our soon-to-be opened Darwin Centre courtyard terrace over a glass of wine or a cocktail

 

Harry Housen, the General Manager for our benugo caterers, and I tested the menu under the inscrutable eyes of our excellent chefs Richard Carter and Olivier Dhainaut. A few months back I gave my outline brief for the kind of food that I would like to offer for the summer late openings of The Deep Sea exhibition. The chefs had come up with pretty much exactly what I had in mind. The tasting was to road test their suggestions, finesse as necessary and finalise the menu and pricings.

 

We'll have a whole picnic thing going on for summer After Hours - so do come along to one (or indeed all!) of the evenings and try out our new menu. My favourite was the flatbread with chicken, chorizo, crème fraiche, pepper confit and baby spinach, closely followed by the chocolate and orange mousse. It was difficult not to scoff the lot and had Harry and the chefs not been there I probably would have.

 

You can also enjoy a delicious peach or mango belline, a chilled beer, or just a glass of wine at summer After Hours. Why not while away a summer evening on our new Darwin Centre terrace after experiencing our amazing new exhibition, The Deep Sea. It is really not to be missed.


The first After Hours summer event will be on 25 June and give visitors the chance to enjoy The Deep Sea exhibition and the Darwin Centre in the evening, with more special events lined up. Visit the website for more details soon.

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Late-night visitors wowed by the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

We had the biggest turn-out for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at After Hours so far this season on 29 January, and as many people went to visit the Darwin Centre on the night. All of which was great to see.

 

after-hours-renouf-talk-as.jpgAt his sell-out event in the Darwin Centre's Attenborough Studio (left), Jonathan Renouf, series producer of BBC Two's illuminating How the Earth Made Us gave us a diverting account of the making of the 5-episode series. It's about how our human history has been shaped and developed by the planet’s elementary forces.

 

The footage Jonathan showed included arresting film from the ‘Fire’ episode with the likeable and enthusiastic presenter, geologist Iain Stewart, in a special fire-proof suit walking through a wall of orange fire. Jonathan told us how, out of shot, a horde of firemen and fire equipment stood ready to douse Iain as he walked through the flames - it being particularly dangerous if he fell over. His fire-protective suit was so heavy, he’d have been unable to right himself. Other fascinating shots were those from ‘Wind’ taken from the peak of Mt Connor in central Australia, which pulled right up to the atmosphere to show the immense wind forces that circulate the mountain. He also told his fascinated audience how a succession of shots were taken by helicopter and then stitched in with satellite images. And how, if you looked very carefully, you could see the join! I’ve looked several times at these shots on BBC iplayer and I still can’t see it. The film clips worked brilliantly in the studio as they are so immersive. Jonathan also brought along a nice surprise for us - some very amusing outtakes from the series, which the audience loved.

 

affer-hours-climatecchange-wall-600.jpgOther Darwin Centre hotspots included the Climate Change Wall (right) just outside the Attenborough Studio. And up in Cocoon, another great communicator, our entertaining curator of arachnids, Jan Beccaloni, attracted quite a crowd in front of the glass-fronted specimen preparation area. It was great to see people engaging so enthusiastically with science on a Friday night out. Showing the public our behind-the-scenes science is of course one of the driving factors behind the Darwin Centre, but that people are doing this as an evening-out experience is really fantastic.

 

Explaining that she was behind glass because of pest control requirements, Jan was working on British arachnid specimens destined for the new Angela Marmont Centre. She had, as promised, also brought along an example of the world’s biggest spider, as well as a black widow and a scorpion. ‘I feel I may have erred in not pointing out these are not British,’ said Jan jocularly, as her audience measured up mentally the goliath bird-eating tarantula in the large specimen jar beside her.


There are only two more late openings of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year this season on 26 February and 26 March. So do book your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment if you want to see this year’s competition winners after hours.

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jonathan-renouf-160.jpgThis Friday’s After Hours (29 January) sees the second of our very exciting Meet the BBC Series Producer events in the Attenborough Studio. This time, Jonathan Renouf (left), series producer of BBC Two’s momentous How the Earth Made Us will be showing clips and images from the series. It is a real thrill for us to be running these fascinating events.

 

Back at November’s After Hours, Martha Holmes, the wonderful producer of the BBC’s Life series had to come across country to give her talk and only just made it in the nick of time due to transport problems, so we are relieved that Jonathan is coming from North London.


We will be putting a bar just outside the Attenborough Studio as usual on Friday night where you can relax over a drink before or after the event, or after you've visited the Darwin Centre Cocoon.

 

Jan Beccaloni, our excellent and very amusing curator of arachnids, will be doing a stint in the specimen preparation area in Cocoon. She tells me she will be working on spiders that are destined for the Angela Marmont Centre - our showcase for UK biodiversity which opens later this year. Jan is thinking about bringing along some other specimens from our collections as well, including examples of the world's biggest spider! Hopefully no one will faint. Including me. Come along and have a chat with Jan - she will be very pleased to see you.

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Tickets for this Friday's late opening of our Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in the Waterhouse Gallery have nearly sold out, so you'll have to be really quick if you'd like to see the exhibition at this After Hours. Look out for this beautiful leopard image if you go.

 

We are starting planning now for our new summer After Hours. This will be a chance for you to catch up with our fascinating new exhibition The Deep after hours and enjoy a summer cocktail or two and our new summer menu out in the Darwin Centre gardens, so make a date in your diary for the first event, which is on 25 June. If the weather holds it will be fantastic.

 

If it rains it will be slightly less fantastic but we have contingency plans!

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It was a real privilege to have Martha Holmes, the BBC Life series producer with us at our November After Hours night. Martha (pictured left) had very kindly agreed to give a talk on the making of the BBC's Life series and it proved to be a truly fascinating event.

 

The high-tech, very impressive Darwin Centre Attenborough Studio was the venue, a fitting place to be discussing Sir David Attenborough's new Life series. Martha was introduced by Nathan Budd, who used to work with her at the BBC Natural History Museum Unit in Bristol, and is now an Assistant Producer in our Interactive Film Unit here. Nathan is a member of the After Hours project team and the event was his idea.

 

Martha is a great speaker, and made a perfect, humorous and quite moving selection of images and film clips to illustrate her talk. And her talk was so engrossing, in particular the dedication of the cameramen in difficult environments was an eye-opener, as well as seeing clips of the animal behaviour that  Martha emphasised new technology is allowing us to see for the first time.

 

What came across most profoundly for me was the BBC’s commitment to excellence. Martha explained how only the very best shots were used in the Life series - even if that meant disappointing the cameramen who had endured horrendous conditions to get footage that would not ultimately be used.  It is this process of selection that ensures the very best footage comes to our screens.

 

I noticed a small, rapt boy in the audience with his parents - he was first in line afterwards at the book signing and went off happily with his signed Christmas present of the Life series book that Martha co-wrote with Michael Gunton.

 

As Martha signed away, Nathan told me how he’d spent a year living totally isolated from civilisation when he was working as a cameraman on the BBC’s Yellowstone series. He said that about five shots from his year’s footage were eventually used. He also told me some amusing stories of running away from the wildlife which, of course, included grizzly and brown bears. Now all I need to do is persuade Nathan to do an event about cameramen living in the wild...

 

Come along to our next After Hours on Friday, 29 January 2010, when we're planning another special event.

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Central Hall, the place to meet at After Hours, where you can enjoy music, tapas and cocktails

 

The first After Hours event this year took place on Friday 30 October. For the uninitiated, After Hours is our season of Museum lates when we open the doors until 22.30 every last Friday of the month, except for December. This year it goes on until 26 March 2010. Have a look at the After Hours web pages to find out what's on offer.

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A glass of champagne in the Red Bar

 

This year is the 5th season of late night openings of the Museum. As well as giving you a great Friday night out at our extremely popular Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition,this year we also have a bar open in our new Darwin Centre and some special events planned there in the Attenborough Studio.

 

I'm the After Hours project manager and over the season I hope to bring you regular updates. In this blog I will be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at our winter lates and news on our planned summer late openings.

 

We started After Hours in the winter of 2005. Our intention was to give people who couldn't come to the Museum in the day or at weekends the chance to come and see our Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in the evening. Back in 2005 I was thrilled when our Head of Business asked me to set up the After Hours project. My enthusiasm, however, might have been tempered had I realised just what I was taking on!

 

Only 150 people turned up at the first After Hours event, much to our horror. But things have progressed nicely over the years and we almost always sell out. It is a great project to be working on and I have a fantastic project team behind me.

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Relaxing in the Central Hall Blue Bar

 

This year, the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition has a great new home in our Waterhouse Gallery. As well as the Red Bar in Fossil Way near the exhibition gallery and the Central Hall Blue Bar which serves tapas-style food with drinks, there's a new bar in the Darwin Centre which we hope you'll stop by at - before or after you experience Cocoon.

 

Our shop will also be open, where you're sure to find some unique Christmas presents.



Laura Harmour

Laura Harmour

Member since: Nov 18, 2009

Find out what will be happening at Lates - the late night opening of the Museum on the last Friday of (almost) every month.

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